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As healthcare moves to become more digital and virtual, mostly thanks to the restrictions caused by COVID over the last 18 months, one space that has seen an unexpected boost is digital clinical trials. A number of different companies in this subsector raised funding since the start of the pandemic, as having people participate in in-person studies became impracticable, or impossible.
The latest is ObvioHealth, which calls itself a "Virtual Research Organization." The company provides a DCT app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone, so that anyone can participate in clinical trials from anywhere.
On Thursday, the company announced a $31 million round of financing led by new investors Dedalus Group and Novotech, who together contributed $18.5 million. The rest of the funding came from SPRIM Global Investments, AT Capital Group, and other existing investors.
Founded in 2017, ObvioHealth runs trials via a centralized virtual clinical platform. The company accompanies participants through every step of the journey, from enrollment to helping them complete tasks, and also validating data capture.
The company works with sponsors to design, run, analyze and deliver trials. Its platform includes tools for recruitment and prescreening, while also overseeing the shipment and return of supplies and/or devices to and from the patient's home. It also handles participant payments, while also helping participants to capture and record their data in order to increase compliance; coordinates doctor, lab and imaging appointments, as well as home, site, or telehealth visits; and provides real time monitoring and reporting.
Since it launched four years ago, the company has been awarded nearly 40 studies from 28 blue chip clients, implemented in 28 countries, in 16 different therapeutic areas, including cardiology, dermatology, GI, men's health, mental health, nutrition, oncology, pediatrics, sleep, virology, and women's health.
Going forward, ObvioHealth will be partnering with Dedalus, an international healthcare IT and diagnostic software provider; the two companies will be combining clinical research with EHR data, allowing researchers to collaborate with hospitals to identify more precise patient subpopulations.
"The collaboration is born out of our strategic focus on clinical safety and efficiency," Giorgio Moretti, founder of Dedalus and board members at ObvioHealth, said in a statement.
"ObvioHealth is already helping to bring new drugs and devices to market by making clinical trials faster and safer. The financial investment from Dedalus testifies to its commitment in supporting this transformation."
ObvioHealth will also be partnering with Novotech, a biotech specialist Contract Research Organization (CRO). ObvioHealth will become Novotech's preferred provider for virtual clinical trials in APAC; Novotech has 29 offices across the region, and will help grow ObvioHealth's presence. At the same time, Novotech will become ObvioHealth's preferred CRO in the region for hybrid and virtual trials.
With this new funding, ObvioHealth says it will invest in expanding its IT capabilities, while growing its, particularly in Asia, with plans to expand its offices in Singapore.
The digital clinical trials space
A slew of the other companies in this space that have raised funding just in the last month, including Antidote, which provides a free clinical trial search engine, called Antidote Match, that serves both sides of the clinical trial marketplace, which raised $23 million, as well as decentralized clinical trial platform HumanFirst, formerly Elektra Labs, which raised $12 million, and Hawthorne Effect, which raised a $20 million Series A round of funding.
The other big news in the digital clinical trial space was the announcement that Science 37 would be going public via a SPAC merger with LifeSci Acquisition II, a blank check company targeting the biopharma, medical technology, digital health and healthcare services sectors. The combined company will operate as Science 37 and is expected to be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “SNCE.”
LifeSci was also a previous investor in Science 37, which had raised a total of $147.5 million in venture funding.
(Update: this article previous indicated that ObvioHealth was based in Singapore, when it is based in the United States, and that it was founded in 2015, rather than 2017)
(Image source: obviohealth.com)
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